While the Glazunov concerto is one of the most-recorded saxophone concertos, this new disc sports four world premiere recordings of other sax-and-orchestra works – two of them new orchestrations of works previously heard in other versions. Saxist Oviedo studied with Harvey Pittel at the University of Texas and became heavily involved in the French repertory for the saxophone. After all, the instrument was invented by a Frenchman, so naturally there are more works written for it by French composers.
One of the most famous 20th century works for sax and orchestra is Debussy’s Rapsodie, which was commissioned by a female saxist of the time, Elise Hall. Oviedo learned that Ms. Hall’s estate had left scores of some works for sax and orchestra to the New England Conservatory. He followed up on them and this disc includes some of these musical finds by now-forgotten French composers.
The variations on Carnival of Venice are quite the showpiece, and the haunting tune of Bozza’s short Aria makes a fine closing to the album. Bozza – who lived until 1991 – was a versatile composer but his works for woodwinds are especially tasty. The three-movement suite by Grovlez is a gorgeous work which could be very popular on concert programs due to its suggestions of both Faure and Satie.
— John Sunier